Do I Need to File for a Separation Before My Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Geneva divorce attorneyWhen you fill out an application or questionnaire that inquires about your marital status, you are usually given several options: “single,” “married,” or “divorced.” Sometimes, the choices are a little more diverse and include possibilities such as “single – never married,” “widowed,” and “legally separated.” This can be a source of confusion for some people as they consider their own relationship situation. If legally separated is a choice, does that mean that is a necessary stepping stone on the way to a divorce?

Legal Separation

To answer the question simply, you do not need to be legally separated before you can file for a divorce in Illinois. In fact, while legal separation is an option that is available under the law, it is one that not often utilized. A legal separation may be sought if the couple wishes to sever most of the ties each spouse has with the other without actually ending the marriage. Following a legal separation, the couple may agree to divide property, but will need to make arrangements for any children they have together. The spouses, however, remain legally married to one another and may not marry again until and unless a divorce is completed. Couples may choose to seek a legal separation for many reasons, but financial and religious considerations are often among the most common.

Living Separate and Apart

When the average person talks about a separation, he or she is not usually referring to a legal separation. Instead, he or she is talking about a period of living separate and apart from his or her spouse. This type of separation does not require any formal filing and is very common prior to a divorce. As of January 2016, however, the law in Illinois does not mandate that a couple be separated for any length of time whatsoever prior to pursuing a divorce. Instead, if both parties agree, the divorce may proceed immediately, even while the spouses are still living in the same household.  If the parties do not agree to proceed, a six-month period of living separate and apart will be seen by the court as proof that the marriage is beyond repair.

Get the Answers You Need

If you have questions about a separation period or any other aspect of the divorce process, contact an experienced Geneva divorce lawyer for a confidential consultation. Schedule an appointment today by calling The Law Offices of Douglas B. Warlick & Associates at 630-232-9700. We look forward to providing the guidance you need and the quality representation you deserve.



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